I recently came upon your blog, and I love it!! I'm not a mother yet, but I'm already obsessed with finding the perfect names for future spawn. :-) My fiance and I have a long list of future names we might use, but I'm starting to find that I have a more pressing name problem. I REALLY hope you can help us!!
Since we got engaged, I've been internally debating the surname issue. It's a little complicated. My fiance loves his last name, Ba$$, because he believes it links him to his Italian heritage. He also finds it easy to dictate to other people when anyone asks for his name. It is short, sweet, and easy to spell.
I don't really like the name because the only other living relative with the same name is his mother, and we both have a strong distaste for her (we won't get into that whole thing, but she has many issues and did not provide a good childhood for my fiance). I would definitely prefer not to have a link to her.
My last name, Mi$chler, is German, longer, and a little trickier to spell, but it has fantastic associations to my large family, who have pretty much adopted my fiance as one of them (my father is the dad he never had). We are much much closer to my family than his 1-person family.
But he doesn't want to take my name, mostly due to social conformities, and I don't want to take his because of his mom (also: really, a fish?). But I want us to have the same last name.
I actually really love the idea of mashing/creating something new, but we've tried to mash our surnames together and it always sounds similar to a swear word: Ba$ler (ba$tard), Bi$ch (b!itch), etc.
Is there anything we haven't thought of? I really don't know what to do. Please help if you can!
There's hyphenating (with both spouses taking the hyphenated name), which I assume you've thought of, and it works nicely with the two names: I'd probably go with Ba$$-Mi$chler because I prefer that sound, but both ways work.
I think my favorite mash-together name would be Baschler. It sounds like Bachelor, which isn't too bad.
If being connected to his heritage is important to him, are there other family surnames further up the tree that he could switch to, or did the Italian heritage only come down through the Ba$$ males?
But if your fiance loves his surname and wants to follow social norms, I think any of these other options will be a tough sell.
I had a similar situation when I married Paul: I loved my surname/family and disliked his. He wasn't fond of his family either, and was open to other ideas. His favorite idea was choosing an entirely different surname, not connected to either family. We tried out a number of them when giving our name to restaurant hosts. We also considered both taking my name, me hyphenating, both hyphenating, various mash-together options, keeping our own surnames and matching the girls/boys to mine/his, etc.
In the end, I took his name. I was resentful of the social norms, but also found I wanted to follow them and didn't want to explain an alternate choice. I liked that if someone heard my surname and said, "Oh, is that Dutch?" or "Oh, are you related to the Minnesota branch of the family?," I didn't have to say, "Oh, no, not really---we just sort of picked a name." I liked the idea of being able to say to the kids things like "The Thistle side of the family" and "The Paulsurname side of the family." I knew we could have more than one surname in our household and it wouldn't be a huge deal, but I didn't want to. And I didn't mind so much having a different surname than my husband, but I didn't want to have a different surname than my children, or to be the only one in our household with a different name.
It boiled down to ranking the various elements of the choice and choosing the ones that were the highest priority to me---while realizing that every choice had downsides.
I put my own surname in the second-middle-name position (but I use it as the default on any document that allows only one middle name), and we gave it to all the children as their second middle name. I have it spelled out on my license and on my bank accounts: I'm Swistle N. Thistle Paulsurname. If I needed to use a name for a writing column or something, I'd use my maiden name. I also periodically mention how resentful I am of the social norms, which can be soothing.
I think it would be interesting to hear everyone's stories. Did you give up your name, or keep it, or both take something new? Did you struggle with the decision, or was it easy? Have you regretted the choice, or are you happy with it? If you went non-social-norm, has it been a big hassle or no big deal or somewhere in between? If you each kept your own names and then had children, whose name did you give to the children? If you're not married, what do you predict you'd want to do?